Loose - Herbal Tea
CUP CHARACTERISTICS: Refreshing and cleansing with hints of honey. The finish is reminiscent of light Madagascar pepper.
INGREDIENTS FROM: South Africa
GROWING ALTITUDES: 1500 - 2500 feet above sea level
GRADE(S): Choice Grade #1
MANUFACTURE TYPE(S): Traditional process, Rolled and fermented
ANTIOXIDANT LEVEL: Low
CAFFEINE LEVEL: None - Caffeine Free Herb
ARTISANAL NOTES: Small batch blended and packed in Canada.
INFUSION: Tending orange, bright
Honeybush (Latin: Cyclopia spp.) is native to the Cederberg District (the Eastern Cape) of South Africa. Dutch botanical records from the area - the Dutch being South Africa's first European colonizers - make mention of Honeybush consumption as far back as the mid to late 1600's. The first mention of the consumption of Honeybush as a caffeine free tea substitute outside of South Africa however appeared almost 200 years later. A pharmacological handbook published in the US in 1898 titled, King's American Dispensary of 1898, makes mention, under the heading "Tea," of Honeybush as an acceptable tea substitute manufactured in the Cape Colony of South Africa, then governed by the Dutch East India Company.
Back in those days Honeybush was entirely collected by hand from bushes that grew wild in the region's mountainous terrain.
Even today, it is still quite common for commercially available Honeybush to be harvested by hand from wild bushes although this is becoming less common as international demand for a more consistent product rises. In recent years producers have begun focusing on commercial cultivation of the plant. In 1998 a group of South African farmers formed the South African Honeybush Producers Association (SAHPA), an organization dedicated to promoting new and improved growing and production techniques. The first large scale Honeybush plantation began operation 3 years later in 2001 near the town of Haarlem. This plantation was the result of a joint partnership between the SAHPA and various American organizations, the two principals being the ASNAPP, Agribusiness in Sustainable Natural African Plant Products at Rutgers University, and the Herb Research Foundation of Colorado. The goal of this partnership was to create a cooperative farm operated by local growers for the cultivation of more than 100,000 plants. The plantation project was a success and a second large-scale operation was opened in the town of Ericaville with even more planned for the future.
So how is Honeybush tea manufactured? Similar to regular black tea there are 4 steps: harvesting, cutting, fermentation (oxidation), and drying. The harvested bush clippings are brought to the factory where they are mechanically chopped to help the cellular breakdown responsible for fermentation. Next, the cuttings are either formed into firmly packed heaps and covered with canvas sacks, or as is the case with much of the newly cultivated Honeybush, placed in pre-heated baking ovens. (With the rise in consumption of Honeybush, baking ovens are gaining popularity since they make it much easier to control the quality of the finished product.) Once the tea has fermented, (about 3 days if a curing heap is used, or about 30 hours if an oven is used,) it is spread out on canvas sheets and allowed to dry for one or two days.
The resulting tea is as healthy as it is tasty. Honeybush tea is caffeine free, high in antioxidants, and has a wonderfully sweet, very slightly astringent flavor with overtones of honey - the overall flavor is very unique and has been compared to hot apricot jam or a dried fruit mix. When brewing the tea, try adding a spoonful of honey to the cup to help open this delicate honey-like character. Although Honeybush is traditionally enjoyed piping hot, over ice it makes an incredible summertime refresher. Either way, this is definitely one of our more interesting tea offerings.
TEA CUP 8oz (237ml)
AMOUNT 1 heaping teaspoon of "The Perfect Measure Spoon"
MILD 3-5 min
MEDIUM 4-5 min
STRONG 6-7 min
We recommends 3-5 min
TEA POT 18oz (532ml)
AMOUNT 2 heaping teaspoons of "The Perfect Measure Spoon"
MILD 3-5 min
MEDIUM 4-5 min
STRONG 6-7 min
We recommends 3-5 min
MILK No, SUGAR No, LEMON OK, MINT OK
IDEAL BREWING TEMPERATURE: 100ºC/212ºF
HOT BREWING METHOD:
Bring filtered or freshly drawn cold water to a rolling boil. Place 1 slightly heaping teaspoon of loose tea for each 7-9oz / 200-260ml of fluid volume in the teapot. Pour the boiling water into the teapot. Cover and let steep for 3-7 minutes according to taste (the longer the steeping time the stronger the tea).
ICED TEA BREWING METHOD (Pitcher): (To Make 1 Liter/Quart):
Place 6 slightly heaping teaspoons into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Using filtered or freshly drawn cold water, boil and pour 1¼ cups/315ml into the pot. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the leaves or removing the tea bags. Add ice and top-up the pitcher with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste. A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to increase the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted with cold water. (Note: Some luxury quality teas may turn cloudy when poured over ice. This is a sign of luxury quality and nothing to worry about.)
ICED TEA BREWING METHOD (Individual Serving):
Place 1 slightly heaping teaspoon into a teapot for each serving required. Using filtered or freshly drawn cold water, boil and pour 6-7oz/170-200ml per serving into the pot. Cover and let steep for 5 minutes. Add hot tea to a 12oz/375ml acrylic glass filled with ice, straining the leaves. Not all of the tea will fit, allowing for approximately an additional ½ serving. Sweeten and/or add lemon to taste. A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to increase the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted. (Note: Some luxury quality teas may turn cloudy when poured over ice. This is a sign of luxury quality and nothing to worry about!)
FOOD SAFETY ADVISORY: We strongly recommend using filtered or freshly drawn cold water brought to a rolling boil when brewing all types of tea. Today's water has been known to carry viruses, parasites and bacteria. Boiling the water will kill these elements and reduce the potential incidence of water-borne illnesses.
RECOMMENDATION: We recommend the use of our '1 Cup of Perfect Tea' measuring spoon for best results. Please contact us to place an order.
ANTIOXIDANT BENEFIT: For a greater antioxidant benefit brew longer and use more tea.
Tea Pittsburgh Blue Monkey Tea ships from Pgh, PA 15217 (Squirrel Hill)